Withholding tenants deposits for damage

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    Withholding tenants deposits for damage

    I had 3 tenants living in my propety on a fixed term contract a inventory was tgaken and signed for. They vacated the property on 31st March and I sold the property on 2 April. Unfortunatley left the property in a state.

    I requested they all be present for an inventory check but they did niot want to do this. When I visit the property for a final inspection with my husband I was unhappy with the state of the properety. The house was dirty, the fridge was damaged, the cooker dirty with a broken glass front, one bedroom which had been painted 2 years ago was dirty and covered with blue tac marks, a wool carpet (5 yrs old) was was badly stained and a mattress was stained with stale blood. The garden was covered with weeds and the borders overgrown and the grass ruined with huge weeds - it clearly had not been touched for some time. The grouting on the kitchen floor was black with dirt The 2 tenants present were busying themselves and did not make themselves readily available for an inventory check. When I stated that I was not happy I was informed I was told that they had got a professional cleaner in the night before and could not do the garden as the weather had been bad. Despite being asked to remove all there personal rubbish - they left behind a suitcase chair, large box of books bags of clothes which meant I had to pay to dispose of this at the tip.
    I stated that if they wanted their deposit back then they would need to mow the lawn and at least dust all the skirting boards. We left the property for them to do this and received a call about half an hour later to say the removal van had arrived and they needed to leave. I was still not happy but piad 2 of the tenants their deposit back in full. The assured me that all the cupboards etc had been cleaned out.
    Unfortunatley when they had left and had time to view we were very unhappy with the state of the house and realised the extend of the dirt etc as indicated above. We spent 2 days cleaning and doing the garden and going to the tip - the house was still not cleaned properly but as I was selling and with the time limits was unable to get in a professional and was unable to spend any further time. I also notice mail adressed to someone who was never cleared to be living in the house and suspect that they were subletting - this was against the terms of the contract.
    I am sure this is not correct but I still had a deposit from one of the tenants that was not present at the final inspection and so I deducted £210 this was broken down into £45 tip, £35 damage to fridge, cleaning x6 hrs £60, gardening x3hrs £30 and £40 for damge to the cooker - I wrote to her and expressed how unhappy I was and detailed the deductions. I did not at this stage make a full list of the damage and was happy to accept on the above.
    She obviously wrote back to be and was extremely un ahppy with the deductions and has demanded her money back or threatening to sue me.

    I realise I have mad a hash of this but do not think I ashould be penalised for their damage. My questions are
    1. if the tenancy agreement was in the 3 names and I have deducted the money for the damage is her issue re reclaiming it actually with her co tenants
    2. she has already cashe the cheque for the returned deposit - would this be seen as admission and acceptance of the damage charges
    3. Since her letter I have been adding up and itemising the total cost of thd damage to the property which amounts to £425 - am I in my rights to give her a full an itemised list of the damage with the revised costs.
    4. I did take a full inventory at the start of the tenancy the tenant who is complaining has been in the house for approx 6yrs three of which were as a lodgere until I moved out of my property and 3 yrs as a tenant. Because of this I ended up trying to be reasonable and ended up letting the property for well below the market value £1360 insteasd of £1460 for a 4 bedroom London property. There were charges specidifed on the contract for renewing contracts, for when individual tenants moved out which I waived. I am now feeling very let down and obviously learnt form this. Although I took a full inventory I did not take any pictures at the time of the inventory or at the final inspection. However my husband was my witness. How would this stand up if it went to court?

    I apologise for the length of my query I hope you can make sense of it and would appreciate some advise on how to move this forward

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